The Local Game.

Published on 29 November 2022 at 15:40

Several documentary photographers have looked at the popular game of football, most have concentrated on the big events and relied on the abundant theatrics on show. What is often over looked are the smaller leagues where the players live locally and turn up every Saturday for free. 
These are the amateur leagues and make up the grassroots of the great game. I stumbled on this sector and immediately saw the potential, the first game I attended was a rough and ready affair, with dirty fouls and language to match. The Referee was threatened and beat a hasty retreat at the end, old tattoos from the 1990's were evident and clearly there were hardy  supporters from the major league clubs on the sidelines. It was a moody afternoon.
I found a starting point for the project with Bream Football Club, nestled in the Forest of Dean, England and I spent two years following them around the various pitches used by the clubs in the North Gloucester League. It was obvious that no one had ever pointed the camera at the crowds, and it took a while to be accepted but the Coach was instrumental in helping me to build the trust to get in and make the important pictures. I have tried to capture the reality of the game concentrating on the action close to the edge of the pitch, action on both sides, on and off the pitch as it were. Here I found a story of triumph, elation disappointment and sometimes despair. Currently the work is ongoing but there is enough material for a book and local exhibition that I hope to accomplish in early 2023. 
I thank all the players and supporters at Bream Football Club for their help.

Documentary Photography, Football photo story, Bream football club, Centre for Britsh documentary Photography, British Culture Archive, RPS, Magnum Photos,

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